Saturday, August 31, 2013

Airlines 101: Lesson #37

Our original flight was yesterday at 3pm but when we arrived at the airport around 2pm they informed us our plane had mechanic problems and was delayed till 5pm hence it would have made us miss all our subsequent flights. Thus without remorse without reimbursement from Air Canada they rebooked us for today. Today's flight was 11:45am so we had to be at the airport around 9:45am. Our good morning from Air Canada was they wouldn't let us check in with our one way tickets because we didn't have travel visas for Ukraine and they didn't want to get fined should the Ukrainian immigration refuse us entry and send us back to Canada. So Air Canada looks out for themselves. Thus, we booked a refundable return flight (in the one hour before the flight) and presented it to them and they let us make the 11:45am flight to Montreal. So 2 days of airline education and we are on our way.

Queens of the Midwest

The girls have me feeling slightly outnumbered in "The crew bound for Kiliya". Waiting for our boarding to start here in Montreal.

Trip 3 - Montreal Exit Strategy

Give me a Air Canada properly configured Boeing 777-300 over a cramped, narrow seated, overpopulated Polish Airlines Boeing 787 Horrorliner any day. Leaving For Frankfurt 5:30pm central time.

Trip 3 - Welcome to Montreal

Landed in Montreal. Next flight to Frankfurt in 2hrs.

New Product Idea

For Better Air Ventilation; a new product idea. This rotating carriage carries twin fans ricocheting air off the ceiling as they rotate on the carriage making for very comfortable air movement.

Barry's Taxi Service

Barry our driver seeing us off. Not sure this guy knows what sun roofs are for but hey, with the minimal use a sunroof gets, anything to get your money's worth out of it.

Trip 3 - The Crew

The trip 3 crew left to right; Astrid, Jen, Bloggo and vickie.

Trip 3 (Final) - The retrieval journey

Descript of next trip in brief: final trip involves going to Kiliya, doing boys papers, traveling from Kiliya to Odessa where we do more papers. Travel from Odessa to the city of boys birth place and doing more papers. Then return to Kiliya for the boys and travel to Kiev for additional paperwork, the boys physical
/medical exam. Once these steps are done we head home with the boys.

YWG Winnipeg Airport Checkin

YWG Winnipeg's pride and joy; the new James Armstrong Richardson Airport features these "straight from the Canadian Tire barbecue grill selection" check-in counters.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Countdown to Trip 3 is on

Final few days before Trip 3 gets underway later this weekend. Gathering essential niggles, equipment, and downloading mappage. Them two trip 3 helpers have never been out of North America so should be a downright life changing experience for them. I'm hiding some smugness here because I've already had some of the bugout moments their about the experience. Maybe for one of my next two posts we should have them introduce themselves. Let me get some consent forms signed first...
Check out this Google Maps capture of the route from Kiev to Kiliya Ukraine. Its suggesting a 8hr 25mins duration for the trip; try 10-12 hrs for a more realistic estimate. Obviously Google Maps knows nothing of the craters (36-48" diameter by 4-6" deep) that dot the highway during the last 2 hrs before you reach Kiliya.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Trip 2 Ends

Safely touched down at Minneapolis airport now and our luggage arrived safely as well. Thanks

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Court Decision Celebrated

Oh yeah, we celebrated the court decision even though it was 10:30 in the morning. After all that sweating and nervous energy, we fizzed it away with a bottle of the finest $5 champagne available on this side of Kiliya.

Overpasses for future

I'm guessing around 4 such half finished, sometimes less then half finished overpasses were seen between Kiev and Kiliya. Not sure if construction was halted due to a genuine lack of funds or some higher up decided to pocket the funds allotted to the project. (The later is what happens to the federal money allotted to road construction in Kiliya.)

Stairway - Economical & fully recyclable

At the very last stand we visited we found the best price on watermeloms. 1 grievnah per kg. Everyone else had wanted 2-3 grievnahs per kg. A grievnah is 12.5 cents US. This stairway was built to assist the flow of customers down an embankment to a roadside market stand. Those tough looking fellows by van are our drivers for this trip.

Roadside Markets - "Take that Walmart"

On our way back to Kiev today our coordinator lady Alla and the drivers did a whole van load of fruits and veggies shopping. Boy, did I wish Stick Vetter had been along to rid the van of some of that cantalope smell. There were boxes of watermelon, bags of peaches, plums, cantalope, grapes, tomatoes, flats of eggs & the final item on list she couldn't find for right price; onions. We had boxes and bags stacked in the back, under the seats and even stacked next to her seat.
Nevertheless, the combo of aromas in our Renault Trafic minivan was quite concentrated at times.
The market along the roadside is families selling their homegrown wares OR lots of times these small time fruit brokers who have nothing but a large cargo Sprinter style van that go to the poorer cheaper areas like Kiliya and buy the fruits off of family farms and haul them half ways back to Kiev where they sell then for a decent profit. Remember, starting from Kiliya stuff is cheapest and as you get closer to Kiev it gets more expensive. During today's two dozen roadside shopping stops I managed to snap some decent pics of different stands because we were standing still, something you dont take forgranted when most pics are taken at blurring speeds on treacherous roads. Enjoy.

For helpers on final trip

For the so lucky individuals (I won't reveal their identity; that's for them to tell) who are coming along on the final trip to Ukraine to bring home the boys, this post is for you.
Please decide where your "vosh rent" is because there is only one shower stall for you to do all your cleaning, bathing and laundry.
I remembered to photograph my session last night so you have a visual guide how it works in the old country back during your great grandmothers time.
Step 1: 4" of warm water in shower stall and dissolve your favorite powder laundry detergent along with an Old Dutch Bleach tablet.
Step 2: spread clothes in solution and let soak 15mins
Step 3: pound, beat, swish, whirl, rub, scrape clothes on knobby shower stall floor, please wear disposable gloves cuz I'm not sure doing it barehanded with bleach is wise.
Step 4: drain water and make new batch of clean water to rinse clothes, wring by hand.
Step 5: find a cupboard door, entry door or string bale twine across the room to hand clothes to dry. The AC helps accelerate the drying is what we found. The fancy wall mounted lamps in some of the rooms make great bale twine hanging anchors for across the room clotheslines.
Step 6: enjoy your freshly washed, heavily wrinkled, mild bleach and detergent scented clothes with a warm and fuzzy feeling about how much work you put into cleaning them.

Court has reached decision

Whew! Court concerning the case of the twins concluded here 2am your time at home. We had a one hour court session yesterday and today's additional 1hr court session concluded the case. After yesterday we didn't know more about decision then the previous day. The "young" court and I mean young; the judge, the prosecutor and record keeper were all not a day older then 35, decided that our request was satisfactory, considering the circumstance of the boys and have ruled in our favor. So now we are unofficially parents of the twins but now starts the 10 day window of appeal by local citizens. So now we go pack up and go home to wait out the 10 days. I admit, anything court always makes me nervous and this was no different. I was mega apprehensive and on edge. Good thing it was early in morn before breakfast and no coffee yet so a bit groggy helped me somewhat. Meanwhile Jen sat next to me cool as a cucumber and never figured he would rule any other way then in our favor. I suspect its due to how sleepy she is, that the magnitude of the decision at hand didn't register. Oh well, we all roll different.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Open Market 2

pics from todays visit to the 
Kiliya open market. everything your heart desires is here. the produce and fruit thats available is outstanding.

Our Drivers

This guy on right is our driver for this trip while the van belongs to the other guy who's same size, same build but sports a mustache and glasses. Haven't managed to get good pic of him. No we never worry about getting beat up or having anything stolen from us while in their company.

Open Market 1

If small engines is your thing, they have weed eaters, snow blowers, garden tillers, motorized adult trikes all available here. Most of the stuff is powered by Chinese produced Honda engine knockoffs. The Mustang brand motorcycles, trikes and mopeds is probably from there as well.

Court for Boys

Now for important news; to our disappointment as well as our coordinators, international adoption cases result in two days of court. So today we had an hour long court session and are slated for another hour tomorrow between 9-10am. Tomorrows session will result in the verdict of the case. The good news is that because we are fitted into a hour long slot which is followed by a criminal case, our session can't extend beyond one hour and will be somewhat abbreviated which is fine with us. So no news to be told just yet.

Warning Track

Check out the warning tracks in this restroom at a very nice gas station with an outhouse. 
To reader asking if the warning track is similar to baseball.
Im first to admit I don't follow much baseball so its pure speculation if its the same as in baseball, where its to remind the runner their close to thurd or about to score a home run.

Our Ride - Renault Trafic Minivan

This minivan by Renault needs to merge with Mercedes to combine their strong points and eliminate their weak points and produce a killer product in this segment.
Mercedes such minivan here has a much nicer ride then this Renault while the Renault has 10 times fewer body creaks, squeaks & quirks. Check out the 4-5" thick body panels and doors. That's why its doors and body panels have no squeaks while the Mercedes with its 2" thick panels and doors squeaks and creaks due to flimsy build quality. Also the Mercedes diesel sounds more refined then the Renault diesel. As for the seats, the Renaults are 3 times as comfortable as the plywood hard straight up and down Mercedes bench seats.

Along the Interstate of Ukraine

Beautiful countryside as we are leaving Kiev for Kiliya.

Kiev City Scape

We are now living in main downtown of Kiev where its modern and lively. Just some city scenery.